• October 1, 2020 1:14 am

Reporting From Delhi

Who will splash the cash before kickoff?

ByShaunak Ghosh

Aug 15, 2020

The football transfer season is now underway, and clubs will be looking to bolster their squads. Patriot looks at some of the top transfers that can happen this season

With the seasons in European football’s top leagues coming to an end after long, it is now time for clubs across the continent to splash their cash and enhance their squads.

This year it will be an interesting transfer window to watch out for, especially after Covid-19 struck the world, and affected football clubs too. The teams have now a reduced transfer budget owing to lockdowns across the world and almost no revenue coming in from stadium attendances. With millions of pounds short in their banks, which are the players that clubs will be willing to spend their money on?

Here’s a look at the top transfers which could go through this season.

 Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund)

WHY HE COULD MOVE

This is the fate of the best Dortmund players – signed young, developed and sent away to the biggest clubs in Europe at a tidy profit. Sancho will be no exception to the rule and this summer should mark the end of his German chapter. He is one of the greatest talents of his generation, as comfortable finishing as helping his team-mates. His experience in the Champions League and England national team make him highly coveted and he is just 20 years old

WHO’S INTERESTED?

Manchester United are chiefly interested in the player with rumours swirling around that he could be the Red Devils’ marquee signing this window. Chelsea and Liverpool also dream of repatriating one of the nation’s crown jewels. And when those clubs scramble together, prices soar. Sancho has also caught PSG’s eye and will be a real option if Mbappe or Neymar leave. Real Madrid could also move if they fail to land Mbappe. Finally, Juventus, who will likely make major changes in attack, are very interested.

ESTIMATED COST: £120 million

Kylian Mbappe (PSG)

WHY HE COULD MOVE

He is the greatest talent of his generation and, in the minds of all the huge clubs, is the most obvious successor to Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Mbappe (let’s remember, still just 21) is full of ambitions that PSG are unlikely to be capable of satisfying. Even if the season finishes and PSG win the Champions League, they will still be under siege for Mbappe in the summer. The Frenchman has been vague about his future with the mystery fuelling speculation. He has two years left on his PSG contract and it’s hard to imagine Leonardo letting go of the man who best embodies the Parisian project.

WHO’S INTERESTED?

Real Madrid. He is the latest project of Florentino Perez, who needs a new Galactico to satisfy his doubters and help Real reconquer Europe. Eden Hazard has not brought the magic that Madrid must generate and they can’t do much better than sign Mbappe. Real have a huge head start over their rivals, which include the Manchester clubs — Mbappe has never hidden his desire for Real Madrid or Zidane. And that’s why it’s hard to see any other destination than the Bernabeu should he leave PSG.

ESTIMATED COST: £250 million

Lautaro Martinez (Inter Milan)

WHY HE COULD MOVE

Martinez is one of the great revelations of Serie A. He has carried Inter on his young shoulders with 16 goals and developed a great partnership with Romelu Lukaku. Inter must accept that his future likely lies away from Milan and put their efforts into negotiating the best price. And let’s be honest, Martinez is high in our rankings precisely because a very large club has him top of their shopping list.

WHO’S INTERESTED?

Unlike the other players in our top five, Martinez’s next destination seems pretty clear. Barcelona have made him their top priority for the summer. Why? First, they are seeking a successor to Luis Suarez and he seems perfect for the role. And second, because Lionel Messi admires his Argentine compatriot and the pair have formed an impressive bond on international duty. And if Messi is convinced, it makes the deal a whole lot easier.

ESTIMATED COST: £110 million

Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli)

WHY HE COULD MOVE

The man who is always linked, but never moves, could finally move. Koulibaly has been essential to Napoli’s ability to compete at the top of Serie A. Beyond his exceptional qualities as a defender, the Senegalese is also a leader while his charisma makes him even more attractive on the transfer market. Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis is perfectly aware of this. Always hard in negotiations, he will not hesitate to raise the stakes as high as possible.

WHO’S INTERESTED?

PSG immediately comeS to mind. Sports director Leonardo has a good network in the Italian market from his days at AC Milan and he is looking for a leader to succeed Thiago Silva, whose contract expires in June. And it gets juicier. Koulibaly has just bought an apartment in the heart of Paris, just in case. But PSG are far from the only ones chasing him. Manchester City and Chelsea are also heavily linked to the centre back because both teams lack serious firepower in the back. Powerful clubs with significant financial resources that offer Napoli the prospect of overseeing one of the most lucrative transfers of the summer.

ESTIMATED COST: £70 million

 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)

WHY HE COULD MOVE

The star of the season for an underperforming Arsenal hasn’t signed a new deal yet with the Gunners. Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta had said that the forward’s future will be decided after the FA Cup final, and he duly delivered with two goals and a man of the match performance in a winning effort. Recent noises coming out of the club suggest that maybe he will stay in North London but until that new contract is confirmed speculation will continue.

WHO’S INTERESTED?

Barcelona have explored this for several months according to reports in Spain, Chelsea are likely to lose Michy Batshuayi and Olivier Giroud, and Manchester United jump on anything that moves. Even PSG have Aubameyang on their radar as they secretly prepare for life without Mbappe and/or Neymar.

ESTIMATED COST: £55 million

Eduardo Camavinga (Rennes)

WHY HE COULD MOVE

The most in-demand kid on the market? At just 17, the Rennes midfielder does not even have a full season in his legs – after Ligue 1 didn’t resume when the pandemic hit – but his 30-plus outings this season are enough to make him one of the most admired prospects on the continent. He delivered an immense display during Rennes’ victory over PSG in August and has taken everything in his stride since. His technique and intelligence are enough to excite all European giants.

WHO’S INTERESTED?

Real Madrid are reportedly the team leading the well with Zinedine Zidane seeing his compatriot as the future of his midfield. However the pandemic might mean that this transfer gets pushed into the following summer.

ESTIMATED COST: £55 million

Harry Kane (Tottenham)

WHY HE COULD MOVE

Well, he is potentially the world’s best striker… Kane has proven his abilities consistently in the Premier League and on England duty, despite suffering a spate of mid-term injuries. The 27-year-old’s mission at Tottenham – Project Trophy – looks increasingly unlikely and he must surely aspire to play for a European club worthy of his talent. Kane is under contract until 2024 and is unlikely to be allowed to leave quietly, so we could be looking at one of the most expensive transfers of all time. Or a very unhappy player.

WHO’S INTERESTED?

Manchester United, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus… Kane will have his pick of the European elite, all promising to offer him what he most desires: trophies. While United are the most insistent and are rarely afraid of offering ludicrous salaries, it will take other arguments to sway a player in pursuit of titles.

ESTIMATED COST: £135 million

Kai Havertz (Bayer Leverkeusen)

WHY HE COULD MOVE

It is a simple case of the player being too big for the club he plays for. Kai Havertz is one of the best young wingers in the world and would be an asset to any side. In the German Bundesliga season 2019/20, Kai Havertz played 29 matches (plus 1 as a sub). He had 26 shots on target from a total of 47 shots and scored 12 goals. Havertz averaged 46 passes per match with a pass completion rate of 86%, and had 7 assists. Havertz would be an asset to any team having loftier ambitions than Leverkeusen.

WHO’S INTERESTED?

Chelsea have been linked with Havertz and are almost certain to grab the wide man. Reports and transfer pundits have tipped it to be one of the deals of the summer. Chelsea are in desperate need of reinforcement in their ranks, especially after Willian leaving, and Havertz will be an incredible addition to Lampard’s squad. It has been reported that manchester United would swoop in should they fail to secure the Jadon Sancho deal.

ESTIMATED COST: £72 million